Hibiscus, the fascinating flowering tropical plant, had its origin in Asia. It has spread to several parts of the world and is among the most popular garden plants. Hibiscus are also grown for landscaping and as hedges. Today, there are thousands of known varieties of the shrub. Many are hybrids. New types are still being discovered, bred and recorded. Sizes differ from less than 12 inches tall (Hibiscus trionum) to about 40 feet (Lagunaria patersonii). The life span of tropical hibiscus can be up to 50 years. In comparison, the hybrids have a shorter existence, approximately 10 to 15 years.
In the tropics, Hibiscus can be found thriving in the most difficult and desolate terrain. Some plants are dense and bushy, while others are thin and tall. The biggest attraction of the Hibiscus plant is the flower. Hibiscus come in many colors and sizes, and in areas where the temperature is above 70 degrees, it flowers throughout the year.
The leaves are normally elongated or oval shaped and about two to four inches in length. Usually the color of the leaves is dull green, glossy dark green or with a reddish tint.
The many medicinal, cosmetic and gastronomic properties of the Hibiscus go back to ancient times. Modern research has confirmed these properties and continues to reveal new ones. All parts of the plant are considered edible.
Propagation of Hibiscus can be made through cuttings or grafting or by germinating the seeds. Saplings and seeds are available from nurseries and florists. Seed germinated plants are unlikely to have the same characteristics as the parent plant because the pollination may not be from the same source. In fact, it is possible that a packet you buy may contain seeds from different parents and could grow into plants that vary in characteristics. If you have one Hibiscus plant, by using cuttings from that plant, a number of similar plants can be grown.